Eric Wang

The Facebook group Yale Memes for Special Snowflake Teens now has a younger, more popular sibling — Elitist Memes for Every Ivy League Teen.

From comparisons between Ivy League schools and The Bachelor contestants to rankings of the eight universities based on the number of books on their crests, the new meme group features hundreds of posts. Since its creation over winter break, Elitist Memes for Every Ivy League Teen has accrued more than 30,000 followers.

“College experiences can be really tricky and humor is the way people cope with them,” said Julian Rosenblum ’18, one of the administrators of Yale Memes for Special Snowflake Teens. “A lot of people really do struggle in college, and meme groups provide an environment where people with similar struggles make light of that. Looking at memes is an easy way to make yourself feel better.”

According to Ephraim Sutherland ’20 — whose experience as a member of the new Ivy League meme group and a founder of Yale’s makes him an expert on the subject — the college meme craze started in the winter of 2016. Students often use the groups to poke fun at campus customs and culture.

The popularity of college memes is reflected in the numbers of followers some of the pages have attracted. Some of the largest, like UC Berkeley Memes for Edgy Teens, have more than 100,000 members and top posts accumulate tens of thousands of likes.

Rosenblum explained that meme pages have especially taken off at elite schools, where stress culture and feelings of inadequacy can affect students. Meme pages, Rosenblum explained, give students a sense of shared experience.

“The one post about how much people are struggling for finals got thousands of likes because everyone was like, ‘Oh, it’s not just me,’” Rosenblum added.

Sutherland expressed support for the new Ivy League meme group, which he thinks has helped bring the eight colleges closer together. He added that creating a page dedicated to rivalries between the schools, always a hot topic of debate, was “honestly genius.”

Sutherland said Yale is portrayed “quite generously” in the group, where most memes about the Yale-Harvard rivalry “seem more pro-Yale.” But Kelsang Dolma ’19, a member of the Ivy League meme group and an administrator of the Yale group, said she regretted that many of the memes in the Ivy League group portray New Haven in a negative light.

“It is abhorrent to ridicule New Haven, a city that is largely home to lower income people of color,” Dolma said. “It is upsetting to see that the same people who [present] themselves as virtuous and volunteer-oriented would go as low to attack New Haven for some superficial likes.”

When, at the end of 2016, Charles Comiter ’20 and Sutherland created the Yale meme page over lunch, they did not anticipate its popularity. Two months later, the page had thousands of followers.

Last year, both were contacted by small companies that wanted to post advertisements on the Yale meme page.

“It was tempting, but we ultimately declined their offers,” Sutherland explained. “As an admin of the page, I understand why companies would want to advertise on our site. At least for [the Yale meme group], I always felt we had something special that I hope will live on after I leave campus.”

Yale Memes for Special Snowflake Teens now has more than 24,000 followers.

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